Vantage point

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

About Gandhi

As I have written before on my blog, I am saddened at how most Indians think about Gandhiji, and how their thinking is governed mainly by propaganda spread either by Congressians or RSS folks. I have lamented about how hardly any Indians take any efforts to read enough about Gandhiji before they judge him.

A couple of years back, during a train ride from Mumbai to Lucknow, I had a discussion with some IIML-mates about this topic, and at that time my friend Yogesh Dashrath had been extremely critical of Gandhiji.

Recently, in a mail he started praising Gandhiji. As this happened just a few days after he read Freedom at Midnight, I accused him to listening to sense only when foreigners preach it. How wrong I was, has been demonstrated by this mail he wrote describing the transformation of his opinions. It is an amazing mail, and am reproducing it here with his permission -

So finally I shall write my piece about Gandhi..

Let me start from my early recollections..i remember that i hated gandhi..i felt that he was the guy who did not stand for us and brahmins in particular..that freedom was achieved not due to his struggle but blows dealt to british forces in second world war..that gandhi was the reason we had partition..that his death resulted into hatred against brahmins and also nehru screwed maharashtra in states reorganization by giving dang to gujrat and belgaum, karvar to karnataka..also non violence seemed such a idea to gain freedom..we shouldnt have been begging but it was our birth right and we should have kicked them out of india..also, gandhi was like the icon of congress adn the congressmen that we knew were all (or anyways most of them) scum..

in short, he seemed a bigoted, cranky, rigid old man who lead india into a path which lost us self respect and left us a legacy which constituted of corrupted politicians..

but as time has gone by i think that i am able to understand things much more..i have come across lot of literature (including and not exclusively lapierre and collins) which gave me fair understanding of what our country is and was as well as host of other issues..

today i still subscribe to most of the points i had then if not views..we got freedom due to lessening of british forces in second world war..gandhi's death resulted into hatred against brahmins and nehrus views against marathi people..he was a rigid old man who held to his views strongly..our freedom should have been got by kicking british out as it was our birthright..

but then i also realized a lot many things..he was only leader who touched entire nation..he practiced what he history full of violence, his non violence and satyagraha are beacons of way of thinking which is revolutionary..violence is natural so i could understand courage which he had to persevere with his views..he was against partition but second rung congress leadership over ruled him..congressmen are not his legacy but throwback on rulers of all ages who ought to be many things which brought me to a stage where i can look into him as one of the greatest human beings..

i do not like social discrimination and i know that u all also subscribe to this view..but we do not do anything for this..we do not have courage to go in front of thousand people and say what we feel..we feel dirty when we visit slums and mahar colonies..i used to feel that people in slums should be banished outside i know better ofcourse..just because i am privilagd does not give me right to think that underprivilaged do not have right to live.. gandhi spent his entire life in their upgradation and not just that he lived like them..that f**king b**ch mayawati or sonia or laloo or anybody who says that they sympathize with these guys are total shams..none of them live in slums and all of them preach from 5 that bas**** paswan who says about mahars and so on but lived in 5 star throughout bihar elections..

gandhi went to places where he was hated with all the passion alone and spoke people about even a small politician has a bodyguard..forget about ministers and PMs..his view that india lived in villages and to make it better we have start there are exactly same as mine..he knew what drove the nation..he felt it..that requires a lot of love in ur heart...

i really felt agrieved abou gaurav speaking of me being influenced by foreign views and preaching about, do not base ur suggestion on half baked stories..though there was time when i felt foreign was all great and india was all i dont think so..there are various points on which i may think so but overall i think i have grown enough to understadn the beauty of this land and its people however flawed they may be..

similarly, my views about gandhi have not changed overnight..but over the years, i realized the extra ordinary nature of his live, his transformation and his courage..i look around myself and find hatred and fear..i live in apartment complex which is guarded round the clock..then i appreciate the courage and greatness of a small man who touched entire nation..he took on their beliefs and customs..he taught us something that made us better..from mere animals he showed us a way to reach peace..he might be flawed and i might not agree to his views, but that does not stop me from saluting to him as the greatest son that india has produced in last century..